Welcome to Thursday Trailer Face-Off, a feature in which we cast a critical eye on two similar upcoming film releases, pitting them against each other across a variety of categories to determine which is most deserving of your two hours. This week: Diana vs. Jobs, two biopics about people who changed the world.
PremiseSteve Jobs, the genius behind Apple computers, and Princess Diana, England’s most beloved royal, may seem like an odd couple, but their upcoming biopics reveal their many similarities. The lives of Jobs and Princess Diana ended far too early, but both managed to leave permanent and irreplaceable marks on the world before they left it. Jobs tells the story of Apple’s germination in a California garage and how Steve went from a barefoot college dropout to one of the most powerful and influential men in America. Princess Diana was certainly not as eccentric as Jobs, but she was equally as influential. Diana highlights both what she gave to the world—she was a devoted philanthropist—and what the world took from her: her privacy. Her adulterous scandal and eventual divorce made her the most famous woman in the world for all the wrong reasons. While Diana‘s story has got brains, beauty and drama, Jobs is a lesser-known narrative that has impacted the lives of every Apple user alive (including, ahem, everyone who’s ever worked at a magazine).Advantage: Jobs
CastingBoth films seem to have cast leads based primarily on their physical likeness to the characters, which is risky move. Sure, it could make the films more believable to look at, but a film is not a photo and if the actor can’t act, nothing else matters. Ashton Kutcher may look like Steve Jobs, but it’s hard to imagine the Dude, Where’s My Car star inventing complex computer software. That being said, though, the young Steve Jobs was known for being quite a “dude” himself. With two Oscar nominations to her name, Naomi Watts certainly has the talent to play Diana, and her uncanny resemblance to the late Princess makes the film all the more moving.Advantage: Diana
ScandalThe tale of a mad genius is never complete without personal and professional drama. Jobs was adopted as a small child and spent his adult life trying to track down his biological family. He denied the paternity of his first child, whom he had with a different woman before he married his wife. Then, after creating Apple he was fired, re-hired, and sued. It’s hard, however, to compete with a royal scandal, and with her frank interviews and post-divorce personal life covering the tabloids, Diana became the Princess of scandal.Advantage: Diana
TrendsettersOne of the best scenes in the Jobs trailer happens when Apple employees are brainstorming: one person says, “Typeface isn’t a pressing issue,” and Jobs replies curtly, “Get out.” Jobs understood the importance of style, and the influence of his aesthetic is ubiquitous. Princess Diana was rather stylish herself—think her now infamous “revenge dress,” which she wore out after Prince Charles confessed to adultery—but iPods and iPads have far outlasted the Princess’ pumps. Advantage: Jobs
VisualsOne of the first shots in Diana trailer is of the Princess’ delicate designer heels stepping out of a limousine. She then has about 25 different outfits featured (everything from skimpy bathing suits to shimmering gowns)… and the trailer’s only one minute long. Of course, being a Princess means wearing only the finest fashions, so unfortunately for the scruffy Steve Jobs, we’d rather spend two hours ogling Diana.Advantage: Diana
VerdictComparing Jobs and Diana is like comparing apples and oranges—earth-shatteringly awesome, life-changing apples and oranges. The influence of both Steve Jobs and Princess Diana is incalculable, and the trailers for both films have got us all choked up. Some say Jobs is the next Social Network, but dude, Ashton Kutcher? Really? In the end, even 16 years after her death, we still can’t keep our eyes off Diana. Winner: Diana